Black Rock Forest Consortium (Cornwall, NY)


  • Name:Jeff Kidder
  • Title:Director of Eduction

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Black Rock Forest Consortium
  • Address:65 Reservoir Rd
    Cornwall, NY 12518
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:(845) 534-4517
  • Main fax:(845) 534-6975

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Black Rock Forest Consortium’s mission is to advance scientific understanding of the natural world through research, education, and conservation programs.

  • Overview:
  • Black Rock Forest Consortium is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to advance scientific understanding of the natural world through research, education, and conservation programs. The Consortium maintains a 3,850-acre forest preserve and a biological field station with laboratories, classrooms and a lodge in the Hudson Highlands, 60 miles north of New York City. The Consortium collaborates with its members – prominent universities, K-12 schools, and research institutions – in conducting scientific research, creating education programs for K-16 audiences, and offering resources and support for early-career scientists, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
    Our recent accomplishments in our three areas of focus include:
    Ecosystem Research: Since the Consortium’s founding, more than 500 research papers have been produced by Consortium scientists. Dozens of faculty-level scientists and graduate and undergraduate students conduct research at the Consortium’s biological field station in the Black Rock Forest each year.
    Conservation: Black Rock Forest Consortium is safeguarding the health of native wildlife and ecosystems by providing improved connectivity within the Highlands and to the Appalachians, the major connectivity corridor for wildlife in the Eastern U.S. Over the past two years, working in partnership with the Open Space Institute, the Orange County Land Trust, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, and others, the Consortium has played a lead role in conserving hundreds of acres within a critical 3,000-acre corridor between Black Rock Forest and its contiguous parks and protected lands with the Schunnemunk Mountain area to the northwest, covering nearly 150,000 acres in all.
    Education: In 2011, Dr. Jeffrey Kidder was hired as the first Director of Education after an eighteen-month national search. Kidder's accomplishments as a scientist and educator include a track record raising $8 million in grants from the National Science Foundation for integrating scientific research with K through 12 science education.
    Dr. Kidder and the Black Rock Forest staff successfully developed and implemented the Summer Science Camp in 2013 with collaborators around the Hudson Valley and beyond. The camp provided authentic science learning experiences with field scientists for 92 students from various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and provided 48 students with scholarships allowing them to participate in this unique experience. The program significantly impacted student attitudes toward science and nature in a positive way according to the results of our surveys. Students expressed a greater interest in the natural world after attending a week at Black Rock Forest and eagerly shared their experience with friends and family. By offering authentic field experiences to young people, we are fostering a greater appreciation of nature and a better understanding of science not only for the students we serve but for their community as well. We have plans to further expand this program in the years to come.

  • History:
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the small tracts of land that make up what is now Black Rock Forest were purchased by the Stillman family. In 1928, the Black Rock Forest was officially designated as a research and demonstration forest by the owner, Dr. Ernest G. Stillman. Dr. Stillman's dream was to return the land to productive use by instituting the techniques of practical forestry, which had recently been introduced in the United States. Dr. Stillman hired a full-time forester and woods crew which began to weed out poorly formed trees and undesirable species. Numerous other forestry "treatments" followed, including plantings, fertilizations, and a variety of selective logging operations. The forest slowly improved in health, with much of the change specifically “guided by human hands.”
    In 1949, Dr. Stillman died and left the Black Rock Forest to his alma mater, Harvard University, in his will. For the next 40 years it was known as the Harvard Black Rock Forest. The emphasis continued on practical forestry as well as research into silvicultural methods and forest tree growth. Over the years from 1928 to 1989, about 75 scientific publications resulted from research activities in the Black Rock Forest. Through all this time the Forest was very carefully managed and preserved by three successive foresters, Hal Tryon (1927-1949), Ben Stout (1949-1959), and Jack Karnig (1959-1992).
    In 1981 Daniel Steiner, the long-time Vice-President and General Counsel of Harvard University called William T. Golden, a long-time New York City friend who was involved and interested in scientific and environmental issues. He asked for Bill Golden’s ideas about the future of the Forest, since Harvard made very little scientific or educational use of it, although it managed and preserved it, since it owned another forest, the Harvard Forest, in Petersham, Massachusetts, much closer to the university’s Cambridge campus. He added that he knew Bill Golden was interested in forests, involved in the Catskills, and had hiked in Black Rock.
    Bill Golden suggested that Harvard consider organizing a group of scientific and educational institutions to purchase the Forest and operate it as a consortium in a manner comparable to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which had been very successful. He pointed out that there was plenty of forest for a dozen or more institutions to use it for research, education, and relaxation, and that the idea might be appealing to institutions within a two- or three-hour drive of the Forest.
    Dan Steiner found the idea both financially and organizationally attractive and asked Bill Golden to pursue the idea. It turned out that most of the institutions Bill Golden contacted were interested in using the Forest and in the idea of a consortium, and were prepared to share operating costs, but had no funds to purchase the Forest. Over the next several years, Bill Golden had numerous talks with Harvard, with the institutions, and with local Cornwall-area residents (including Steve and Smokey Duggan, Esty and Hellie Stowell, and Franny Reese), whose active support proved very important.
    Surprisingly, the matter concluded when Bill Golden purchased the Forest from Harvard University in 1989, under ownership of the new not-for-profit Black Rock Forest Preserve, which in turn leased the Forest to the Black Rock Forest Consortium. Harvard then contributed the purchase price as an endowment for the Forest, to which Bill Golden also contributed.

  • Year established:1989
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:18
  • Advisory board size:
  • Staff size:10


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID:133536463

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:133536463
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:65 RESERVOIR RD
  • Organization City:CORNWALL
  • Organization State:NY
  • Organization Zip:12518-2135
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:May, 1989
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):350
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Preservation of natural resources (conservation)
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:September, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:September
  • NTEE Code:C360
  • Asset Amount:$6,602,543
  • Asset Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$5,422,476
  • Income Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$5,361,716
  • Last Updated:2/22/2018 2:12:28 pm

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.